Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Up Wind From a Compost Heap.

In an effort to become more environmentally friendly I have decided to start composting.  I was inspired, once again, by my friend Val who is pretty much an expert, well compared to me anyway, on all things green.  

If you are like me, you might be asking, "What the heck is composting and why should I go to all that trouble?"  Well in simple terms composting is taking your veggie and fruit trimmings (also tea bags, coffee grounds, egg shells, and other miscellaneous items) and throwing them in a pail to rot.  Yep, rot.  So now you are probably asking yourself why would wouldn't just put them in the regular old trash can to do that... right?  Thats what I asked Val, anyway...  

The answer is apparently that food takes longer to decompose in a landfill and can sit in there for ages just a rotting away amidst the Wal*Mart sacks and dirty diapers.  When you compost it breaks down much faster and turns into a rich soil that can be used for gardening... I think thats right anyway... I think this must be the Idiot's Guide to composting...  So anyway, after putting your trimmings into the compost pail you eventually (hopefully sooner than later) empty the pail into a composting bin/pile/heap/wherever Val tells me...

Since Caleb and I live in an apartment, I needed a compost pail that was large enough that only needed to be emptied about once a week or so.  I also chose a caddy that had a filter to keep odors at a minimum.  This one has worked out really well.  There haven't been any nasty odors in our apartment so I've been pleased.

Ha!  See how they spell odor?  Thats cause this baby came over from England!
Just to mark this monumental occasion I took a picture of the first ever item to be placed in my compost pail... an inaugural scrap if you will.  

Because we live in the city and cannot have our own composting bin to create compost that we would use in our own gardens, we dump our compost in the community garden.  

Val loves her some compost.

See.  This is Val's compost pail on the right.  They are friends.

This is the compost pile.  When you empty out your pail you have to give it a good shake.  I'm not going to lie... this composting business can get a little messy.  It isn't for the squeamish.  It can get moldy, stinky, and definitely unappetizing.  It's all in the name of saving the environment.  You remember Captain Planet?  For some reason I keep thinking of Captain Planet.

Giving it the old shakeroo.

See.  All empty.  You can tell someone likes coffee at our house. 

The last step in the process is covering the compost with some straw.  I don't really know what this step is all about.  Keeping the critters out?  If I was a critter I would like compost, although it doesn't contain meat.  Rule #1: don't put meat in your compost...

So there you have it.  If you are interested in composting you should definitely give it a go.  You probably shouldn't follow the Jodi Whitted's Idiot's Guide to Composting though...  a more reliable source/set of instructions might be the way to go.  This or this or this might be helpful!  

Once you learn the basics and know what you can and cannot put into the compost pail, its pretty simple.  An easy way to help make Mother Earth smile!

"The power is yours"
-Captain Planet

1 comment:

  1. Very nice Jodi! Although technically, composting allows organic matter to "decompose" in an aerobic (oxygen available) environment, not "rot" (which implies an anaerobic, oxygen-lacking, environment full of disgusting smells and with a rather 'soupy' appearance--basically what happens in my pail if I don't empty it every week!). The composting process involves friendly bacteria breaking down the matter, turning it into lovely nutrient-rich, healthy soil. You add hay or other "brown" materials to increase the amount of carbon and keep a healthy carbon nitrogen ratio, of ideally 25-30:1 (C:N).

    OK, I'm done geeking out with my mini-lecture now! Happy composting! :)


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